Trevor’s Out and about
Music for the month
of April 2018
Trevor Locke’s monthly round-up of musical events.
Leicester and Leicestershire’s music offerings.
with Mark Morris and Aztec Temples.
To be perfectly honest with you… I was there to see Aztec Temples. A Leicester band I have long followed. The night was provided by Paul Collins. Headlined by Mark Morris. Before ATs came on stage there were two bands. I can’t say I was overwhelmed by them. A bit too bland and ponderous for my tastes. Uninspiring. There are always one or two bands that I follow enthusiastically. Aztec Temples is one of them. It’s all about the music. I love it. Energetic and bouncing. Frenetic and raucous. They do it all exceptionally well. Only one cover in their set – the one they always do. Cornershop’s Brim Full and Asha. You will know it. You will have heard it before, even if you do not know the title. Or the band. It works so well and AT puts their own mark on it. Their own inimitable rendition. When they started to play. Even Norman Cook did a mix of it. You might remember him when he was called Fat Boy Slim. The ‘Temples is a band that has now become firmly established on the Leicester music scene and has secured a following. You could tell from the way the space in front of the stage filled with people for the first time. Rich in rhythm, bursting with beats. That’s how I see the songs of Aztec Temples. Hey have carved out a niche in the local music scene and have toured extensively throughout the country. Mark Morris. Used to be frontman in the Bluetones. A London band founded in 1995. A solo artist now, Mark sang a selection of his own songs. You could tell he was among fans – several of them sang along with him.
Sometimes, you just have to go out. Just to get out of the house. I didn’t go there to write a review, but since I was there I thought it best to give some of the acts I saw, a mention. Joe Doyle and Adam Davison were on stage as part of Homeless Shakespeare. Very good, I thought, to hear Joe on guitar and Adam playing the trumpet. That worked well. Different.
A Leicester band I have seen before. Chambers. Very good. Lots of people commented on how good their set was. Paper Buoys. From Birmingham. Indie Punk sounds. Signed to a label.
12th April 2018
Sonic Boom Six at The Shed
It was just one of those nights… There are gigs and then there are gigs. Having seen that Sonic Boom Six would be playing at The Shed, I diaried it right away. Unmissable.
When I arrived, Switchdown was playing. Three of them. Three faces I recognised straight away. Oh yes. Some of the most memorable faces in the rock music world of Leicester. They used to be in Beneath The Lights. One of the greats. It was good to see them again. Vibrant songs, instantly agreeable. Just as good now as they were years ago. Just sheer entertainment. Just goodly music. As the band’s page on Facebook says ‘With influences stemming from Lower Than Atlantis and Dinosaur Pile-up Switchdown coast the line between pop-punk and alt-rock.’ Also worth noting – ‘With a debut EP currently in recording with Jamie Ward (Dark Dark Horse, Maybeshewill) the trio are [sic] an exciting new face on the Midlands’ music scene.’
The room was full. Not bad for a Thursday might on a gloomy April day. The Shed is a venue that is part of Leicester’s rock history. Like all the others, this venue is only as good as the bands it can book. The great thing about the people who run the venue today is that they know what bands to get. Tonight was an example of their ability not only to know outstanding bands but also to have enough clout to book them.
It was furious. It was fast. It was relentless. Three musicians who thrashed out music triumphantly. Music that was laden with drive and traction. Templeton Pek was not a band I knew; not one of the old familiar faces. New. Innovative. Rocket-fuelled rage. Musically, a lot of what they did went over my head. What riveted my attention was the way they did it. Even if I could not understand it, I recognised it. The band formed in 2005. Their home town was Birmingham. Signed to Drakker Records. This is a big band. Their back story is compellingly interesting. Riven with hardcore influences. Lauded as the UK’s answer to Green Day and Sum 41, their story is a star-studied one.
The Manchester band I had come to see was one I first saw long ago. The good thing is that Sonic Boom Six has been to Leicester many times before and they keep coming back. I saw them in July 2014 when they played at The Soundhouse with Goldstein and Super73. [Music in Leicester.]
That performance was one of those nights that I called ‘a moment in the music life of Leicester.’ Just as I saw back then, ‘Part of the atmosphere of tonight’s show was the frenzied dancing, jumping and bouncing that went on throughout Sonic Boom’s set.’ Bouncing around, hands in the air, waving, clapping – the crowd makes the band and the band makes the crowd. Repeated tonight at The Shed. The whole set was stratospheric. As far as I am concerned this is one of the best bands of all time. They took the whole night to the next level. With their massively strong selection of musical delights, they had more rhythms than you should shake a guitar at. Laila Khan is one of the finest rock band front singers I have ever seen. She had an electrifying presence. I was there when they played at The shed on Monday 5th October 2009. I recognised Nick Horne and Barney Boom (Paul Barnes.) As I said back then ‘They don’t just play tunes, they put on a show and they are one high-caliber act.’
SB6’s music is a cornucopia of ska, punk, pop, grime and dubstep. That sums up twentieth century music. A throng of fans were going wild at the front of the stage. So. No change there then. And the best thing is, they keep coming back to little old Leicester. Long may they do so.
Members of the band
Paul Barnes a.k.a. Barney Boom): Bass, Vocals, Guitar
Laila Khan (a.k.a. Laila K / Lazer K): Vocals, Melodica
Nick Horne (a.k.a. The Blade): Guitar, Trombone, Trumpet, Back-up Vocals, Melodica, Bass
James Routh (a.k.a. Jimmy T Boom): Guitar, Synthesiser, Trombone, Bass, Back-up Vocals
Luke Hesketh: Drums
7th April 2018
A night at The Shed
with various bands
What is a good night out at The Shed? Everyone has their own answer for such a question. For me, it’s about listening to good music, meeting people and drinking. At reasonable cost. Tonight was a good night at The Shed. Two stages of bands; playing good music. A choice of hard rock and punk. An atmosphere that buzzed; an audience that was giving out vibes.
I have seen Event Horizon before. I saw them in December last year, also in The Vault, where they were playing tonight. That’s the stage downstairs, at The Shed. This band’s hardcore is exhilarating. They get better each time they play. They exude energy and presence. I like it when bands progress, noticeably, from one gig to another. They were excellent.
Most of the bands that I saw tonight, I have seen before. I like that. The atmosphere was good. A bunch of people who were clearly enjoying themselves.
Upstairs I saw The Docs. Another of the bands that I have seen before. A few times. One of Leicester’s legendary punk bands. A band that boasts three vocalists. They have a vibe that has an immediate appeal. Punk is about blokes being blokes. Blokes doling what blokes do. It’s good entertainment. It’s music with a voice.
Before they came on many people were talking about them. That’s always a good sign. A Leicester band that plays indie, alternative. While they were playing there was a massive mosh pit going on. The band’s music had energy and penetration. The band gave out a real sense of presence.
After I wrote this, the band got in touch to tell me about themselves: Barracuda are a punk-grunge/alternative rock band that formed last July – after we finished our exams – because we were bored and had nothing to do. All of us went school together. We were all friends but we never thought about making a band in school because we would of got bullied but after our exams we decided to go for it we’ve played at the Soundhouse, the Cookie, Pi bar , 2funky music cafe and the Vault and we are playing Western Park festival in July but we look to play a lot of other shows in the upcoming years. So thanks to the lads for that. We wish them all the best and look forward to supporting them in the years to come.
In The Vault it was time for the headline band. Earls. Two guys who put out as much power and passion as an entire band. They were fantastic. Most of the audience also thought they were; judging from the fervent dancing going on during pretty much most of their set. They seem to have won a posse of new fans. Having seen them many, many times before, I have to agree with my mate who said “Every time I see them, they get better at what they do.” Anthony Lamb does the vocals and plays guitar; George Prosser does the drums. Whilst they give their home town as Halesowen, we see them as being a Leicester band. On their Facebook page they say “We are a two pieces of scum from the Black Country and we play Punk.” That may be true. As I have said before, I think what they do is called ‘Oi.’ A subgenre of punk that originated in the 1970s. The music and its associated subculture had the goal of bringing together punks, skinheads and other working-class youth. Whatever they were doling, they had the audience in their hands; the lids were loving it. They were going mad for it. That brought back lots of happy memories, for me, of the good old days when fans used to go mad for a band. None of this polite standing around appreciating the music and applauding at the end. It’s about frenzied adulation. Moshing. Worshipping. If Earls has done anything since they started – they have made it. Tonight, Earls celebrated their new single We Are Skum. You can hear it on Soundcloud.
Another band tonight was Graves. Hard rock grunge. Or as they say on their Facebook page “Original Hard Rock Grunge band hailing from deepest darkest Leicestershire. Influences include QOTSA, trail of the dead, fugazi, sabbath, AIC, Pearl Jam.” With influences like they, they have got to be good. Graves played at Metal To The Masses, in March. If you want to see them again they got through to the next round.